Russia have the edge after Day 1 of Euro Team Champs
Hosts Russia are leading the way after the opening day of the European Athletics Team Championships in Cheboksary – and the spirit of the competition lives on amid two moments of smiles and delight on a thrilling afternoon.
Valentin Smirnov and Denis Kudryavtsev both banked maximum points for Russia to set the noise levels rising from the home crowd who saw their nation gradually climb up the table.
The 1500m really was a tale of the unexpected as Smirnov regained the form that saw him become the World Student Games champion in 2013.
Few could have expected it with 80m left at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium, with a blanket finish developing, but then, through the bunch of leaders, came Smirnov to triumph.
By the end of the day, the competition was really hotting up with Russia ahead by just five points with 186 from defending champions Germany with 181 and France in third with 175.5. Sweden, in 10th on 102, Finland, with 89, and Norway, bottom with 60, are in the relegation spots for now.